You’re a Red Dot Now

The young man and Elder Smith have been together for nearly three weeks. Elder Smith is about six feet with dishwater blond hair; he’s skinnier than the young man, soft spoken, and hardworking. He is from Montana and speaks slowly and deliberately. After a week of being together, the young man jokes that Smith mightContinue reading “You’re a Red Dot Now”

Upon This Rock

The day begins with Elder Stone’s mirror routine. After starching and ironing his shirt, he stands in front of the mirror in the front room, puts his belt on, then his shirt, and then spends a couple of minutes fluffing the shirt around the waist to get it just so. When he’s finished fluffing it,Continue reading “Upon This Rock”

Medflight

Dusk in Glendale, California, and they stand on an old wooden porch. The door is partially open, and the young man knocks hard on the screen door. Traffic flies by at the intersection to their right, but there is traffic everywhere in California–it is the background noise to life out here. A tall Latina womanContinue reading “Medflight”

Know When to Run

In East LA, many of the houses are triple deckers, and if you keep following the driveway, you’ll find another triple decker behind it, and if you go further, you’ll find a third. It’s 8:30 pm, and the young man and Elder Stone have encountered nothing but “No hablo inglés” for the last hour. TheyContinue reading “Know When to Run”

We Met the Other Night

Darkness has fallen around Pasadena when they emerge from a public housing complex on Colorado Boulevard. The streetlights are bright, and traffic is heavy as people head home from work. Their car is parked on the street just around the corner. The young missionary is headed that way when they pass a black man standingContinue reading “We Met the Other Night”

Turn the Other Cheek

Elder Duncan rides a purple girl bike. The Schwinn he brought into the mission was stolen by El Monte Flores a year ago, and he salvaged a girl mountain bike from a church member who let him take it for free. The young man still has the Schwinn he brought to the field; he’s beenContinue reading “Turn the Other Cheek”

If You Still Believe in God

The young man has been in the mission field for slightly more than two weeks. He has learned how to talk to people at doors and in the street. He has helped teach a handful of lessons, and he is progressing in the missionary study program. It is a mild day in November in Whittier,Continue reading “If You Still Believe in God”

We Should Not Have Come Here

They have been tracting for a couple of hours in Armenian apartments in Glendale, CA. Mostly, they have heard, “No speak English,” or “We are first Christian. We know the God. We know the Jesus. We know everything.” They are close to lunch when they knock a door that probably has no one home–the shadesContinue reading “We Should Not Have Come Here”

His Reason for Fasting

All his life, the young man’s mother referred to a story of a couple she knew. The man had gone on a mission, and partway through his mission, he developed a crush on a girl in one of the wards. He started writing to her. This was against the rules: missionaries cannot write to someoneContinue reading “His Reason for Fasting”

Your Life Is a Mission

The stake president has released him from his mission. He removes his tag and tucks it in his pocket. “Could I have my dad give me a blessing?” “Sure,” says President Grande. His dad stands and places hands on his head. “Gordon Derby Laws, Jr., by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood, I lay myContinue reading “Your Life Is a Mission”